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Application of Iron Oxide in Water Treatment-A Review

Ruqiya Bhat1 and Wakeel A. Dar2

1Department of Physics, University of Kashmir, Srinagar (J&K)-190006, INDIA.
2Department of Chemical Sciences, JMI, New Delhi-110025, INDIA.

(Received on: November 27, 2017)


Iron oxide nanomaterials are attractive for removal of harmful metal ions from the water due to their significant features like small size, high surface area to volume ratio and magnetic property. Magnetic property of iron oxide nanomaterials enables easy separation of adsorbents from the system and can be reused for further application. Re-usability of iron oxide nanomaterials reduces economic burden.

Keywords:Iron oxide nanomaterials, Magnetic property of iron oxide.


Availability of clean water for the growing population is one of the major challenges world faces. Toxic metal ions are among the most common pollutants that pollute the aqueous environment and harm health of humans, animals and plants1. There are different techniques to remove these toxic metal ions, such as chemical precipitation2, solvent extraction3, ion exchange4, reverse osmosis5, and nanofiltration6. Among these techniques, adsorption is measured efficient and cost-effective due to its high efficiency, low-cost, easy handling, and also the availability of different adsorbents7. Nanomaterials reveal high-quality result than other techniques used in water treatment due to of their high surface area to volume ratio8. In addition to having high surface areas to volume ratio, nanoparticles also have unique adsorption properties due to distributions of active surface sites9. Magnetic property is a unique physical property that independently helps in water purification by influencing the physical properties of contaminants in water10. Magnetic nanomaterials have been explored broadly in water treatment application. Many researchers have proved that magnetic nanomaterials particularly magnetite (Fe3O4) and maghemite (γ-Fe2O3) are extensively used in removal of heavy metal ions from water11,12. It was observed that the maximum adsorption capacity for Pb (II) ions was 36.0 mg g-1 by magnetite nanomaterials13. The small size of magnetite nanoparticles was favorable for the diffusion of metal ions from solution onto the active sites of the surface of the magnetite nanomaterial. It suggested that magnetite nanomaterials were effective and economical adsorbents for rapid removal and recovery of metal ions from wastewater14.


Magnetism has an essential role in water treatment. Iron oxide nanomaterials are best nano-adsorbents because of their high surface area to volume ration and magnetic property. Economic burden is reduced due to their reusability.


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